Two stereotypes of the Patriots under Bill Belichick come draft day have been that they are more likely to trade down than up and that they will always, always draft for “value,” first and foremost.
Yes, the Pats often do pass on first or second round draft picks and deal down if they deem the early portion of a draft weak, but their 2012 draft changed much of the thought process around New England. That was the year they traded up twice in the first round to select Chandler Jones at No. 21 overall and Dont’a Hightower at No. 25. Belichick had also maneuvered within the first round before, having selected tight end Daniel Graham in 2002 and Ty Warren in 2003.
None of those draft day moves mentioned above would be as drastic as the Pats jumping from No. 29 overall (their current spot in the first round) into the top 10 – the area where Texas A&M’s controversial slinger Johnny Manziel is likely to be picked this year. But if Manziel falls Aaron Rodgers style, and lands in the teens or early 20s, the Patriots have shown in the past that they’re not afraid to pounce.
The Patriots haven’t had a “need” at the quarterback position since the early 1990s. But they have taken quite a few quarterbacks in the draft in the Belichick era, perhaps looking to get ultra-lucky once again like they did once upon a time with that Tom Brady guy.
Here’s a look at New England’s recent history in drafting quarterbacks. There are certainly more than you would likely think. The Pats drafted Rohan Davey in the fourth round in 2002, Kliff Kingsbury in the sixth round in 2003, Matt Cassel in the seventh round in 2005, Kevin O’Connell in the third round in 2008, Zac Robinson in the seventh round in 2010 and Ryan Mallett in the third round in 2011.
So, simply put, the Pats aren’t afraid to take QBs. With Brady likely three or four years away from retirement, it wouldn’t hurt New England to start searching for his successor.
The odds of Manziel ever taking a snap for the home team in Foxboro are slim for sure, but Belichick has shown – at times – that stereotypes are meant to be broken.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS